Pastor G and I had an interesting experience while at the Dollar Tree recently. It’s one of my favorite places, and we visit fairly often. While we were near the refrigerated/freezer section in the back, a woman reeking of alcohol walked up to me and told me what a wonderful man my husband is. Well, she didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know already, but I looked at her and thanked her. She walked away muttering to herself.
The next thing I knew, my wonderful husband walked up to me and told me we were driving her home, since she had walked a fair distance. We continued shopping and headed up to the register, where the woman already was. We observed her, and she kept walking up to people asking questions like “Do you have kids?” or “How are you today?”. She kept hugging and touching them when it was clear the people did not know her. They paid for their stuff and quickly left the store.
All the while, I was talking to God, asking for His guidance and protection because I didn’t know how He wanted me to handle the situation. So, I uncharacteristically kept my mouth shut and waited.
You know Pastor G is bivocational, and he was acquainted with the woman because she frequented the store where he works. Pastor G also has extensive training in occupational therapy, which essentially helps people who have been disabled by illness or accident to find new ways of performing tasks for daily living. Many of these people are mentally disabled or emotionally challenged, and it is that training that Pastor G relied upon, since the woman was erratic.
Well, my husband (okay, wonderful husband) interacted with the woman, addressing her by name. Not surprisingly, she informed us that her name was something else. She was living in a fantasy fog. Since she kept repeating the same questions and statements over and over, we learned that she also has short term memory issues.
When we reached her apartment, I asked her if she planned to rest once she got inside. Nope. She said she wanted to clean and use the supplies she had just bought. We said our goodbyes and watched her bend over to pick up the bags full of stuff she had just bought. I was concerned that she was so unstable she might hurt herself by drinking even more or taking some kind of psychotropic meds, which can be lethal when mixed with alcohol. Pastor G said we had done the best we could, and we left the woman in God’s hands.
Before the car drove off, the woman approached me and hugged me again through the open window, saying that she was drunk because a terrible thing had happened to her. There’s no question that she was hurting, and I believe God spoke through me at that instant: “You know God loves you. With Him in your life you are never alone.” She got teary and went back to her purchases.
I felt so inadequate because I knew the woman needed more than I could give. Only God can give her what she needs. She has to be willing to seek Him out and receive His love for her, though, and with her short term issues, Pastor G remarked that she could be in a fellowship service and answer altar calls weekly and get saved every Sunday. She needs God’s miraculous working in her life and mind so that she can see and know Him daily and grow in His grace and knowledge. She needs His spirit of a sound mind.
Then Pastor G made what I thought was an amazingly insightful statement (yes, I respect Pastor G’s connection to God and following His lead). He said that, without God, everyone on the planet is insane. It’s just a matter of degree. That makes sense, uncomfortable though it is to grasp. After all, the god of this world is insane, and we are all subject to him and his way of thinking and behaving. Those that don’t know or reject God perceive their thoughts and behavior as “normal” when, in fact, it’s anything but.
It’s truly ironic when I see those living without God labeling believers as insane or mentally ill. All we can do is be living witnesses as to what sound-mindedness truly is so that they can refer to our example when God begins to transform their minds into His likeness.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Pray with me: Father God, thanks for helping us all understand that it is You who give us the spirit of sound minds. Thanks for helping us to yield to Your transformation process and to be willing witnesses for the miracle of sound-mindedness. Help us to be there for those You place across our paths and to be and do what You have for us to be and do. Thanks for showing us how changed we are and help us to ponder the spiritual love/soundmindedness connection. In Jesus’ name, amen.
copyright 2015, Pastors George and Sharon Billington, All Rights Reserved